I am a middle-aged man who is prone to impulses. In less than the time it took my mate to buy two pints and a packet prawn cocktail chips, I had my last impulse in the pub.
Recently, I’ve been experiencing a few impulses and some people believe it is getting out of control. I’ve been known to share my impulses via social media. It’s possible that it’s an age thing. I wonder if other people have the same impulses.
I am referring to books.
Many of the articles I’ve written were based on books in business/psychology that I’ve read. I also discussed how these themes might be viewed through a project management lens. This article follows the same approach. The book “The E Myth Revisited”, by Michael E. Gerber, is the in-the-pub impulse purchase I am referring too.
The title contains the letter E. Entrepreneurial. The ‘E Myth” “is that entrepreneurs risk capital to start small businesses” (page 3).
Michael E. Gerber claims that this is not true! Why do I view project management from a small-business perspective? I believe the skills, behaviors, and characteristics of project managers are very similar to those of small business owners.
Let me tell you what I think. Michael E. Gerber (page 13) states that the fatal assumption for small business owners is that they must understand the technical aspects of a business. It’s false. It’s actually the root cause for most small business failures.
These statements can be read backwards. You can substitute the word “project” for the word “business”. If you understand the technical aspects of a project, then you will understand the project that does the technical work. This is false!
You don’t need to be an expert in IT/construction/HR to manage a project. My belief is that you don’t have to be an expert in IT/construction/HR in order to manage a project with these technical streams.
Consider me as an example. I was a project manager in automotive, but I’m not an expert in Powertrain systems. I don’t need that to manage an automotive project. It’s not my job to be an automotive engineer. My role is to deliver the benefits.
Michael E. Gerber argues that small business owners must be a combination of three personalities: “The Entrepreneur”, “The Manager”, and “The Technician”. Pages 23-26 state that the entrepreneurial personality transforms even the most mundane situation into an extraordinary opportunity. The Entrepreneur is us. The dreamer. The energy behind all human activity…the catalyst to change.
“The managerial personality is pragmatic. Without the Manager, there would be no planning and no order. There would be no predictability. “The Technician is the doer.” Are there any parallels to Freud’s theory of the Id and Ego, or Super-Ego? The Entrepreneur = Id, the Manager = Ego, and the Technical = Super-Ego. Too deep? Let’s not go there!
All these personalities are necessary for project managers. You need to be a visionary, a pragmatist, and a doer. We can see that there is a conflict among these three personalities: the dreamer and fretter, as well as the one who ruminates.
Michael E. Gerber states (page 28) that “the truth is that we all have an Entrepreneur Manager and Technician within us.” If they were all equally balanced, we would be describing an extremely competent individual.
Are we still too fixated on making ‘Technicians project managers’ because they ‘know the most about technical subjects’? Is the Technician still the dominant personality? Is this a ‘fatal assumption’ regarding projects? I see a shift away from The Technician being the dominant personality and I see organisations changing their views about what a project manager should be.